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Our Coaches

Lead Coaches

Elizabeth Wipff

(a.k.a. “Elastigirl”, “Bendy”)
www.strongandbendy.com

Elizabeth is a yogi-athlete, Yoga Tune Up® teacher trainer, and CrossFit coach known for helping students streamline posture, improve performance, and eliminate pain. She has been teaching in NYC and nationally since 1999.

Her athletic endeavors started early: she walked at 7 months, was roller skating at 3 and did her first yoga pose at 4! As a kid she played soccer and studied dance, Iyengar yoga, and therapeutic movement modalities.

This lifelong passion for deep practice and keen enthusiasm for learning has taken her from singing at Carnegie Hall to studying Weightlifting with Olympians. She shares that zeal with her students.

As a yoga instructor, Elizabeth has pursued multiple disciplines– Iyengar-inspired to vinyasa–and has taught for major fitness outlets including Equinox, Crunch and Sports Club/LA and 24-hr Fitness.

Elizabeth has presented trainings at YogaWorks studios and CrossFit boxes nationally and has been featured in Elle and Shape magazines. She writes about yoga and mobility for Greatist.com.

Elizabeth is thrilled to be able to unite her two passions–CrossFit and Yoga–and to be able to help athletes in the CrossFit community become stronger, healthier, and more powerful.

She lives in Manhattan and makes the trek to CrossFit Virtuosity for the love of the community and for access to her amazing fellow coaches.

Elizabeth’s qualifications include:

  • CrossFit Level 2 Trainer
  • CrossFit Speciality Trainer Courses:
    • Gymnastics
    • Kettlebell
    • Olympic Weightlifting
    • Mobility Trainer Course
  • USAW Sports Performance Coach
  • Yoga teacher trainings, including:
    • Yoga Tune Up®/Roll Model® Method Teacher Trainer
    • Yoga Union 300-hr with Alison West
  • Gill Hedley Compassionate Cadaver Lab (April 2015)

SCHEDULE A PRIVATE WITH ELIZABETH »

Juan Blanco

(a.k.a. “Blanco”)

Blanco is a CrossFit and Olympic Weightlifting coach, and an opera singer. Yes, CrossFitters sing opera!

As a child, Blanco was often called “husky” and always picked last in kickball. He battled with his weight, a struggle that would follow him into adulthood. Five years ago, weighing an impressive 280 pounds, Blanco found himself at a crossroads. In one direction was continued unhappiness and ill health. In the other was the hard road to fitness. After struggling through a series of false starts, including a diet named after a Miami beach and some questionable pharmaceutical remedies, he found CrossFit.

In the past five years, he has shed 100 pounds and is in the best shape of his life. If you want to see the kind of transformation that’s possible, ask to see his old photos. They’re pretty incredible, and as an added bonus you’ll get a great laugh from his Florida “frosted tips” hairstyle.

Blanco is truly happy to share his experience and help other people along the road to transformation!

Blanco’s qualifications include:

  • CrossFit Level 2 Trainer
  • CrossFit Speciality Trainer Courses:
    • Gymnastics
    • Kettlebell
    • Olympic Weightlifting
    • Endurance
    • CrossFit Kids
  • USAW Sports Performance Coach
  • USAW Advanced Sports Performance Coach
  • USAW Club Coach
  • CrossFit Olympic Weightlifting Seminar Staff

SCHEDULE A PRIVATE WITH BLANCO »

Joey Swidler

(a.k.a. “Stix”)

Growing up in the suburbs of Chicago, Joey was not a very athletic kid. He warmed the bench in basketball, was thrown in right field in baseball and was picked last for dodgeball. After college, Joey decided to put some muscle on his scrawny 145lb frame. After a year of so called ‘weight training,’ Joey had not seen any significant gains.

In 2008, Joey discovered CrossFit and it changed his world. Since then, he has learned how beneficial functional movement is to our daily lives. After seeing how it changed his own lifestyle, he wanted to give back and began coaching. As a Lead Coach for CrossFit Virtuosity and the Brooklyn Barbell Club, he has over 1000 hours of group coaching and personal training experience, and over 500 hours working with kids and teens.

Joey specializes in Olympic Weightlifting, and is one of the two head coaches of the Brooklyn Barbell Club Olympic Weightlifting team. The team has competed in several local USA Weightlifting competitions, medaling in all of them. The BBC has also produced 2 junior national qualifying lifters, including one who has competed at the national level alongside Pan Americans and Olympians. He is currently a member of the CrossFit Weightlifting seminar staff.

Joey thoroughly enjoys working with individuals of with any level of athleticism. He particularly enjoys working with teens, where the goal is not only to build a solid foundation of fitness but to instill values of dedication, community, and hard work.

Joey’s qualifications include:

  • CrossFit Level 2 Trainer
  • CrossFit Speciality Trainer Courses:
    • Gymnastics
    • Kettlebell
    • Olympic Weightlifting
    • Nutrition
    • CrossFit Kids
  • USAW Sports Performance Coach
  • USAW Advanced Sports Performance Coach
  • USAW Club Coach
  • CrossFit Olympic Weightlifting Seminar Staff

SCHEDULE A PRIVATE WITH JOEY »

Ariel Fernandez

(a.k.a. “Candi”)

The myth of Ariel Fernandez begins in Queens, New York, where he is rumored to have grown up amongst many brothers (perhaps as many as 5!) Details are sketchy, but we hear he attended Baruch College, and played baseball in the minor leagues (a story that may serve to explain his immense strength.) A true New Yorker, Ariel still lives in Queens and subjects himself to the horrors of the LIE and the BQE to bring us his coaching magic.

As a member of Team Virtuosity, Ariel went to the CrossFit Games in 2014. His training regimen is impressively extensive. He claims to be training for the 2016 Games season, but we suspect he’s really trying to steal away the strongest+stretchiest coach crown away from Elizabeth: we’ve seen him get absurdly close to full splits, as well as front squat over 400lbs.

Ariel’s qualifications include:

  • CrossFit Level 2 Trainer
  • USAW Sports Performance Coach
  • 2014 CrossFit Games Athlete, Team Virtuosity

SCHEDULE A PRIVATE WITH ARIEL »

Rob Swayze

(a.k.a. “Swayze”, “McFly”, “Handsome”)

Rob is a complete mystery to all of us. One day in about 2010, he appeared out of nowhere and wowed us with his kettlebell skills and uncanny resemblance to Patrick Swayze, so we decided to keep him. As a bonus, he now comes with a hot wife and an adorable kid*.

From our observations of Rob in the wild, we hypothesize that he is very knowledgable in the areas of building strength, gymnastics, working with athletes who are rehabbing injuries or have movement restrictions, and tattoo art.

*If you see a toddler running around doing handstands and l-sits on things, please return him to Rob.

Rob’s qualifications include:

  • CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
  • USAW Sports Performance Coach

SCHEDULE A PRIVATE WITH ROB »

Kyle Fincham

Kyle grew up on the north shore of Lake Tahoe where he spent most of his time skiing, or praying for snow. His coaching career began at sixteen when he was hired by the local race foundation to teach its youngest shredders.

Kyle began teaching “bootcamp” classes and personal training when he realized dog walking in the winter wasn’t fun. Wishing to develop knowledge for the newfound career, he wandered into Crossfit Virtuosity to find someone to teach him gymnastics. As they say, the rest is history. He joined the coaching program soon after, and is thoroughly inspired by the coaches and athletes he has the privilege to spend his days with.

Kyle’s qualifications include:

  • CrossFit Level 2 Trainer

SCHEDULE A PRIVATE WITH KYLE »

Associate Coaches

Emily Buckley-Matura

Emily was born and raised in Brooklyn, where she spent the majority of her youth playing every sport possible in the streets of Park Slope. She was recruited to play soccer and lacrosse at the University of New Haven. In an effort to stay in shape during the off season, Emily found CrossFit and started training at CrossFit Virtuosity when she was home for summer break from college.

After graduating college, Emily moved back to NYC and started training with the competition team at CFV, which eventually brought her to the most amazing experience of her life: competing at the 2014 CrossFit Games on Team Virtuosity.

Soon after the Games, CrossFit officially took over Emily’s life when she joined the coaching program and started working full time at CFV.

Emily also competes in Olympic Lifting for Brooklyn Barbell Club and is nationally ranked 20th in her weight class.
Emily’s qualifications include:

  • CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
  • 2014 CrossFit Games Athlete, Team Virtuosity

SCHEDULE A PRIVATE WITH EMILY »

Junior Coaches

Michele Kelber

Michele is the leading east coast expert on CrossFit Kids. She has appeared on television and been interviewed for numerous websites and magazines on the subject of children’s health and fitness. Michele recently opened NYC’s first kids-only CrossFit Gym (CrossFit Kids Gantry South), but continues to squeeze us in to her busy schedule for a few adult classes a week!

Over the past ten years, Michele has achieved an impressive personal transformation: she lost 95lbs with the help of weight loss surgery and an ongoing commitment to wellness, has run several marathons and countless half-marathons, participated in a few triathlons and various CrossFit competitions, and quit her career in corporate litigation at one of the city’s top firms to pursue her passion for health and fitness.

Michele’s qualifications include:

  • CrossFit Level 2 Trainer
  • CrossFit Speciality Seminars:
    • CrossFit Kids
    • Endurance
  • Certified Health Coach with the American Association of Drugless Practitioners
  • JD/MBA; licensed attorney in NY and NJ

SCHEDULE A PRIVATE WITH MICHELE »

Devin Kittle

Devin was introduced to CrossFit by a fellow baseball teammate in college who came across main site crossfit.com. After toying with CrossFit throughout college, he got serious about it after graduation. He watched pretty much every video in the CrossFit Journal and taught himself many of the basic movements.

After Equinox frowned upon his wall balls, handstand pushups, and cycling through multiple barbells, Devin found CrossFit Virtuosity and never looked back. After playing four years of college baseball and competing in 3 sports throughout high-school, it gave him something to continue to compete at.

Devin joined the CFV coaching program to both hone his skills and to help others in their athletic journey.

Devin’s qualifications include:

  • CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
  • CrossFit Speciality Seminars:
    • Olympic Weightlifting

SCHEDULE A PRIVATE WITH DEVIN »

Kim Alpert

(a.k.a. “Paleo Spice”)

Kim’s first taste of CrossFit was a free intro class at a gym in the city. After a 5 minute talk, they put her through a 12 minute AMRAP of strict pull ups, kettlebell cleans, and sit ups. Needless to say, she was terrified. Six months passed before she decided to give it another go, this time at Virtuosity, and this time it stuck.

Kim signed up for On Ramp, and was quickly hooked. The only problem: she was leaving for a semester abroad immediately afterward. She decided that she needed to leave her mark on the leaderboard so that we would remember her while she was away. When Karen was programmed the day before she left, she was ecstatic. She completed the WOD with an 8lb ball in the morning and decided to come back later and do it RX, in record time. She came back at night after a power nap and protein shake, ready to kill it. 3,2,1..GO! She got about 30 reps Rx before the time cap was up. It probably took the entire eight months she was in Spain for her quads to recover, but she joined CFV when she returned to the States and hasn’t looked back since!

Kim’s qualifications include:

  • CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
  • CrossFit Speciality Seminars:
    • Olympic Weightlifting

SCHEDULE A PRIVATE WITH KIM »

Founders

Samantha Orme

(a.k.a. “Good Sam”)
Sam founded CrossFit Virtuosity and is its current owner. She is part office manager, client services manager, human resources director, art director, event planner, tech support, construction manager, handyman, and accountant, and hence has all the real responsibility around here.  She is a CrossFit Level 2, CrossFit Kettlebell, CrossFit Olympic Weightlifting, and CrossFit Endurance Trainer, as well as certified by USA Weightlifting as a Sports Performance Coach.

A couple years back (while it was still relatively easy to do) Sam competed at the CrossFit Games Northeast Regional competition as an individual. A couple years before that, she decided on a whim to ride a bicycle across the continental United States and against all odds emerged unscathed.  Somewhere in between, she ran a half marathon and found it far more challenging than the 4,000 mile bike ride. 

As a former web developer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art as well as several start-ups, Sam understands how hard it is to prioritize health and fitness, and spends most of her time trying to make this gym the most awesome possible place to escape to!

Keith Wittenstein

Keith Wittenstein

(a.k.a. “Panda”, “Tyler Durden”, “The Mayor of CrossFitTown”)

Keith founded CrossFit Virtuosity.  He just so happens to be the only Level 3 CrossFit Trainer in the New York area.  Apparently that means he’s pretty badass.  Keith has been personally invited to coach at certification courses by luminaries such as Mark Rippetoe, Mike Burgener, Jeff Martone, and Jeff Tucker. He’s a member of the CrossFit Level 1 Seminar Staff, which means he is an Official Source Of CrossFit Wisdom, and gets to wear a pretty snazzy red shirt.

Before founding CrossFit Virtuosity, Keith founded CrossFit NYC, the first New York CrossFit affiliate, and the eighteenth affiliate nationwide.

Alumni

Gregg Martino — was Lead Coach, CrossFit Virtuosity; now Head Coach, CrossFit ONE Nation
Matthew Bernstein — was Lead Coach, CrossFit Virtuosity; now living the dream in Boulder, Colorado
Justin Algera — was Lead Coach, CrossFit Virtuosity; now living the dream in Charlotte, North Carolina
Jay Hachadoorian — was Associate Coach, CrossFit Virtuosity; now Head Coach, CrossFit Gantry
Mario Barraza — was Assistant Coach, CrossFit Virtuosity; now Owner, ISLA CrossFit
George Lee — was Assistant Coach, CrossFit Virtuosity; now Owner, Bushwick CrossFit
Nathan Barnett-Herrara — was Assistant Coach, CrossFit Virtuosity; now Coach at CrossFit Cayman

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